Pasta with ricotta is one of the simplest Italian pasta dishes to make. The only basic ingredients you really need are pasta, ricotta, salt and pepper. Other added ingredients enhance the dish further. You can really get creative. Try adding sauteed pancetta or diced ham, for example. I love to add peas, but I have also seen people use broccoli. Toasted walnuts give this dish an earthly flavor, but you can use almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts. Or you can forgo adding nuts altogether to really appreciate the creamy richness of the ricotta by itself. Either way, you can throw this dish together in less than 30 minutes.
Note: For an extra creamy sauce, run the ricotta through a food processor for a few minutes before using.
Pasta with Ricotta, Peas, and Walnuts
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 Servings.
1 pound ricotta
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream (optional)
1/3 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons ground, lightly toasted walnuts (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound package large shell pasta
MAKE THE SAUCE: Combine the ricotta, half and half, pecorino, walnuts, and salt in a medium bowl. Add in a few gratings of nutmeg and pepper to taste. Set aside.
COOK THE PASTA: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Return the pasta back into the pot.
MIX IN THE SAUCE: Stir in the ricotta mixture and peas. Gradually add in some of the reserved pasta water if sauce is too thick.